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2009 FINAL:   19.00 Tue 5th May, Nottingham

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 2-3 Chapel Allerton

   Nick Matthew (Yorkshire) 3-1 Thierry Lincou (France)                         11-7, 5-11, 13-11, 11-6 (55m)
   Joey Barrington (Somerset) 0-3 Alister Walker (Gloucestershire)                     5-6 rtd (ankle injury)
   Andrew Whipp (Cheshire) 2-3 Aaron Frankcomb (Australia)      8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 12-14 (70m)
   Joel Hinds (Derbyshire) 2-3 Chris Simpson (Guernsey)                11-6, 11-2, 8-11, 2-11, 5-11 (72m)
   Tania Bailey (Lincs) 3-0 Carrie Ramsey (Yorkshire)                                      11-2, 11-1, 11-3 (22m)

  

Chapel Allerton Destroy Duffield Dream
Howard Harding reports

After a 21-year absence, Leeds club Chapel Allerton marked their return to the Premier Squash League in sensational style by beating Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3/2 in tonight's final before a packed crowd n Nottingham - thus preventing the Derbyshire club from becoming the first to win the world's most prestigious league title a record four times.

Duffield - champions in 1998, 2006 and 2007 - started well in the climax of the 25th season of the PSL when club stalwart Tania Bailey, fresh from captaining England to success in the European Championships in Sweden, crushed Chapel Allerton newcomer Carrie Ramsey 11-2, 11-1, 11-3.

While Bailey, the world No14 from Lincolnshire, was chalking up her 23rd successive PSL match win, 18-year-old Leeds student Ramsey was making her maiden appearance in the league!

Bailey, beset by injury and illness in her recent career, will travel to London immediately following the final to check into a London hospital at 7.00am tomorrow for an operation to repair the cartilage on her hip joint.

"I did think about tomorrow's operation a couple of times during the match - the surgeon is the best in England, who has treated a lot of Manchester United players (including Roy Keane)," said Bailey after her convincing win. "But I enjoyed every minute I was on court, making the most of my last game for a few months. I kept thinking about how much I love playing.

"I couldn't have been happier with my game over the last few months - and I love playing for England. Being captain of the team in Malmo was extra special - we've really got a good thing going with our team.

"The rough estimate is that I'll be back playing in four months - but they won't really know for certain until they do the operation," added the former world No4.

Surprises looked on the cards when Duffield's Joel Hinds took a 2/0 lead against Chris Simpson, and Andrew Whipp twice came back from behind to reach match-ball in the fifth against Chapel Allerton's Australian international Aaron Frankcomb.

But Frankcomb saved two match-balls before clinching success with his own third match-ball to beat dogged Duffield campaigner Whipp 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 14-12 after 70 minutes.

And Simpson - who had never before lost to Hinds, and prevailed against the Derbyshire 21-year-old in last month's British U23 Championship final - battled hard from eight-all in the third to win 6-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 in 72 minutes.

The Leeds club now had a 2/1 advantage - leaving Duffield requiring the final two matches to make PSL history.

But disaster struck for the former champions early in the second match on the showcourt when Englishman Joey Barrington, who had led 5-1, injured his foot when stretching for a drop shot delivered by Chapel Allerton's second string Alister Walker.

"I'm not sure what happened, but he went for it and clearly pulled something in his foot," said Walker after the devastatingly brief 6-5 (retired) win which gave Chapel Allerton the title.

"We always have brutal matches and that was what I was expecting tonight," said Walker, the 26-year-old from Leeds who made his England debut in last week week's European Championship - winning the first match towards England's victory over France in the final. "I took loads of energy drinks in preparation for tonight's match - I think I'll need to go out now and burn it off!"

In the dead rubber that finished the evening, Duffield stalwart Nick Matthew, the England number one, entertained the crowd - and gained a further consolation point for his club - by beating Frenchman Thierry Lincou 11-7, 5-11, 13-11, 11-6 in 55 minutes.

Chapel Allerton team manager Neil Guirey was full of praise for his team for lifting the PSL trophy in, essentially, its maiden season in the league. "What's really pleasing is that everyone in the team is a genuine Chapel Allerton player - either based full-time at the club or, like Thierry, often training here when he's in the UK.

"This success will really be good for us, especially after the one million pound refurbishment the club has recently undergone, which has increased our squash courts to six. In fact our two new courts replaced a tennis court - and it's always nice to do that!

"Tonight has been really spectacular - it was quite difficult to predict how we'd do at the beginning of the season, even though I knew we had a good squad," Guirey added.

"It's also good for Yorkshire squash that we've now established ourselves in the most prestigious league in the world. We've had great local support throughout the season - in fact we could have sold out three-times over.

"But I hope the biggest knock-on effect of this will be to expand the professional side of the club, and attract more elite international players to Chapel Allerton. I hope this will put us on the map as an elite club."
  

Previews:

Matthew After French Double In PSL Final

 

Just days after leading England to title success in the European Team Championships, British champion Nick Matthew will be hoping to finish the season on a double high when he guides Derbyshire club Benz-Bavarian Duffield to a historic fourth victory in the final of the Premier Squash League on Tuesday 5 May in Nottingham.

 

The 28-year-old world No6 from Sheffield claimed a crucial victory in Saturday's European final against France by beating the event's highest-ranked player Gregory Gaultier, the world No2, to give his country a significant lead.  And in the PSL final against Chapel Allerton, Matthew is expected to play the decider against French star Thierry Lincou, the former world number one and world champion who is the Leeds club's top string.

 

With victory in 1998, 2006 and 2007, Duffield are one win away from establishing a unique status in PSL history by edging past fellow three-time champions Leekes Wizards, of Cardiff, and Cannons, from London, in the climax of the 25th season of the world's most prestigious squash league.

 

The village of Duffield, some five miles north of Derby, boasts a population of just 5,000 - yet its squash club has already established a worldwide reputation for its squash prowess.  The club is celebrating its 16th season in the league, a longer continuous run than any other club

 

"The club seems to be the focus of the village and I think this is one of the reasons for its success.  The whole village supports us," Matthew explained.

 

Undefeated in eight matches for Duffield this season, Matthew will be joined in the club's all-English squad by world No14 Tania Bailey, the former British champion from Lincolnshire who boasts an unbeaten PSL run of 22 matches since March 2005!  Like Matthew, Bailey also played her part in England defending the women's European title in Sweden.  Both players featured in Duffield's triumphant 2006 and 2007 successes.

 

Bailey's career has been beset by injuries:  after recovering from knee surgery last year, the 29-year-old from Stamford will undergo hip surgery immediately following her Duffield appearance in the PSL final.

 

The PSA final gets underway at Nottingham Park Squash Club at 7.00pm on Tuesday. 

Home Base:


Victors in 06 & 07:


 

Semi-Finals at Surrey:

Nottingham Squash Rackets Club
 
0115 941 7022
 
Tattershall Drive,
The Park, Nottingham NG7 1BX

Duffield aim for historic PSL success
Preview from Howard Harding

After securing Benz-Bavarian Duffield's place in the final of the Premier Squash League for the third time in four years, British champion Nick Matthew will be hoping to lead the Derbyshire club to an historic fourth PSL title in the climax of the 25th season of the world's most prestigious squash league on Tuesday 5th May Nottingham.

Duffield, some five miles north of Derby and boasting a population of just 5,000, is perhaps now best known around the world for its squash prowess, and are competing in their 16th season of the PSL, a longer continuous run than any other club. In the final they face Chapel Allerton, the long-established Leeds club which first competed in the inaugural 1984/85 season and returned to the league this season after a 22-year gap.

Matthew, the world No6 from Sheffield who is undefeated in eight matches for Duffield this season, will be joined in the club's all-English squad by world No15 Tania Bailey, the former British champion from Lincolnshire who boasts an unbeaten PSL run of 22 matches since March 2005!

Both players featured in Duffield's triumphant 2006 and 2007 finals - and will be hoping to play their part in establishing the club's unique status in PSL history by edging past fellow three-time champions Leekes Wizards, of Cardiff, and Cannons, from London.

Matthew will face Chapel Allerton number one Thierry Lincou, the former world number one and world champion from France who is ranked one position below the Yorkshireman in the world list - but boasts a 12-3 career head-to-head record over his rival.

Matthew, celebrating his sixth season for Duffield, made his Premier League debut in the 1996/97 season - representing his home club Hallamshire. Incredibly, his first PSL experience, then aged 16, was a match against Duffield - which he lost 3/0 in the Derbyshire village.

"I don't remember that match particularly - but I do remember playing Paul Hargrave a few times. He was the son of the then team manager Brian Hargrave - and my Dad managed Hallamshire. I used to get some awful stick from the crowd as he was the favourite.

"Thankfully, the Duffield supporters treat me a lot differently now!

"I've been lucky with the Premier League from the start - first playing for my local club for the seven seasons that they were in the league. I was at a bit of a loss when Hallamshire dropped out and, despite having various offers, wasn't 100% sure what to do.

"But Duffield proved to be the perfect move not only was it the nearest club, but I was made to feel at home from day one! One of the best aspects, right from the start, was meeting Felix Frixou, who has been the team's sponsor throughout and is now also the team manager. He's become one of my best friends and his company Benz Bavarian is now also a personal sponsor.

"But the spectators are so passionate about the club it's a real pleasure to play in front of them. They follow us, home and away, just like a football team you couldn't wish for better support."

"It would be testament to everyone involved if we won the title for a record fourth time not just the team on the court, but the supporters, the people who sell the tickets, make the food, sell the raffle tickets, etc. Everyone chips in at Duffield.

"It's a really special place - the club seems to be the focus of the village and I think this is one of the reasons for its success. The whole village supports us."

Success in Nottingham would crown an incredible season for the Duffield number one who was out of action for most of last year following shoulder surgery in January. He won the Dutch Open in September - his first event after nine months - then reclaimed his British National Championship crown this year in addition to winning the Swedish Open. Leaping four places, Matthew returned to the world top five in March to restore his status as Britain's top-ranked player.

"I went through a lot of ups and downs as I recovered from the surgery - but the lowest point was probably last September, just before I played the Dutch Open. I was so keen to get back to playing but kept having setbacks, and went to Holland without any expectations - and won the title!

"So in the space of just a few days I went from an absolute low to a complete high," said Matthew.

"I thought I was ready to win the Worlds after just a few events, but realised I needed more match practice. Squash is a tough sport but I've definitely come back better and stronger.

"I was lucky to have had a fantastic team of people working with me at the EIS in Sheffield all on my doorstep!"

As he approaches the climax of his 13th season in the Premier League, Matthew is full of praise for the England Squash and Racketball-run league: "It's definitely the most prestigious squash league in the world with great strength in depth in the squads - and unique in giving the ladies a position in the teams. England Squash organise it well around the PSA and WISPA Tours.

"You play as an individual for most of the year so it's good to be part of a team in the league, and all the players want to do well in it. In fact, I remember the last match of the season against Chapel Allerton, in fact when my match was effectively a 'dead rubber'. But I played as if my life depended on it and it turned out to be one of the best matches in the league.

"I've enjoyed this season more than any other the team spirit has been great, and having Joey Barrington (one of my best friends on the tour) in the squad has really been a boost. Andy Whipp and Joel Hinds have really effective at three and four - and Tania's the most reliable woman in the league," concluded the Duffield star.



With Alister Walker and Chris Simpson (ranked 16 & 47, respectively, in the world) both boasting 2/0 career head-to-head records over their opponents Barrington and Hinds (ranked 28 & 178, respectively), it would appear that league 'newcomers' Chapel Allerton have the edge in this PSL finale.

But the Nottingham crowd will no doubt be hoping that Matthew and Lincou will play the decider and that the adopted East Midlander from Sheffield will repeat his two most recent results over the Frenchman to clinch the title for Duffield.
  

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